Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Globalized I/T Architect

There was a lot of fanfare about the IBM "town hall" in Bangalore, India recently. My teammates in Bangalore all got to attend. Based on the Tuesday morning conference call comments, it was a big hit over there

Sam Palmisano, also had some interesting words in the Financial Times the other day. Basically he said the multi-national corporation is dead ... to be superceded by "the globally integrated enterprise." I have no way of knowing how much of this is truly original thought but I would point his comments out to readers.

All of this globalization has a huge impact on those of us who have to shepherd complex software projects along. The globally dispersed development model is alive and well. I suppose, however, that almost any big company that might move a lot of software work offshore has already done it. So now what happens? What does this mean for us as "high wage country" I/T architects? Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Whether we like it or not our job often become to ensure that the global model chosen by the bosses way above us is succesful. Project sabatoge to get them to change their mind is career suicide.
  2. Our job will be getting even more consultative. We will likely spend even a greater percentage of our time worrying about business requirements.
  3. Our "Soft Skills" become even more important as we spend more time writing, presenting, facilitating, persuading, planning, coordinating, selling our ideas, etc.
  4. We'll focus more and more on the things which must be done face-to-face with the business users, excutives, clients, etc. If you can do your job over a VPN from your home office, beware because the job could probably be done from the other side of the world.
  5. We'll write more documentation than ever before so as to enable the armies of offshore developers to be successful (see #1). More and more we will be successful when we achieve results thru others. (Almost sounds like management doesn't it?)
  6. The offshore teams' work will move "up the food chain" to become more and more strategic. See a URL I've pointed to before, IBM to invest $200 million in Global Business Solution Center. The technical lead for this effort, Ray Harishankar, was recently appointed an IBM Fellow, the highest level a technical person can achieve in IBM. There are only 62 of them today out of over 300,000 IBM employees.

Copyright © 2006 by Philip Hartman - All Rights Reserved

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.

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